Wed May 9, 2012
President pushes agenda in Albany
President Obama was in Albany on Tuesday touting the region's growth in high-tech manufacturing.
After an introduction from Governor Andrew Cuomo, the President took the stage at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
While much of his speech focused on a 5-point "to-do" list for Congress, which he says will help turn around the economy, Mr. Obama said he came to Albany because the region's high-tech manufacturing cluster represents the economic future of the nation.
"You got a great university. Now, I want what's happening in Albany to happen all across the country. In places like Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, and Raleigh," Obama told the gathering.
The multibillion dollar nano-college was set up about a decade ago as a public-private partnership.
The school employs close to 2,700 people who work with hundreds of companies as part of a consortium, doing research in nanotechnology- the science behind many high-tech electronics, and computer chips.
"We can't just go back to the way things used to be. We've gotta move forward, to an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody's doing their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules. And that's what you guys are doing here in Albany. You're investing in your future."
The President had originally planned to visit the new GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Saratoga County, but the venue was changed for what officials called logistical reasons.
After touring the college with Governor Cuomo, Mr. Obama gave a speech inside a yet-to-be completed cleanroom, which is set to open later this year and employee a thousand new workers, who will help build the next generation of silicon wafers.
"Everybody benefits when manufacturing is going strong. So you've heard about outsourcing. Today, more and more companies are insourcing."
The employees here say the President's visit is an affirmation of the school's success.
James Laramie works as a programmer for the college.
"It's a sign of what the economics can do for both government and industry working together. I think this is a great sign of it," Laramie said.
During his speech Mr. Obama acknowledged that while private companies create jobs, the government's role is to set them up for success.
And there are signs emerging that New York State's major investment in Albany is extending beyond the Capital Region.
Scott Balager works for an Austin, Texas-based company that provides equipment to help cleanrooms stay clean.
He travels to upstate New York frequently.
"In fact we just made an investment up in the Buffalo area. We opened up a brand new manufacturing facility and it's actually our North American headquarters, so we've made a significant investment in New York as well," Balager said.
That's a story Mr. Obama would like to replicate.
In his speech he said Congress should change the tax code to incentivize more companies to keep jobs in the U.S.
Tuesday's visit marked the third time President Obama has traveled to New York's Capital Region since taking office.
That's a significant number of visits to a state that will likely go his way in November's election.